: a pit or reservoir serving as a drain or receptacle for liquids: such as
: a pit at the lowest point in a circulating or drainage system (such as the oil-circulating system of an internal combustion engine)
chiefly British : oil pan
British : crankcase
[German Sumpf, literally, marsh, from Middle High German — more at swamp]
: the lowest part of a mine shaft into which water drains
: an excavation ahead of regular work in driving a mine tunnel or sinking a mine shaft
: something resembling a sump : sink sense 2

Examples of sump in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To help cope with the additional output of nearly 200 hp routed to larger tire-contact patches, Chevy significantly revised the transaxle with an additional clutch disc, a deeper hydraulic oil sump, internal baffles, beefed-up output shafts and a higher 5.56 final drive ratio. Michael Van Runkle, Robb Report, 4 Oct. 2022 The Corvette gets a dry sump oiling system that's better for the track, while the ZL1 uses a tried and true wet sump design. Fox News Staff, Fox News, 3 July 2022 It’s based on the mill found in the 330 GT and comes equipped with a dry oil sump, dual ignition, three valves per cylinder instead of four, and twin sparkplugs per cylinder. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 2 May 2023 According to CalGEM documents the news organizations obtained through public records requests, errant firms have left leaking wells, tanks, sump ponds and other problems across the state, posing threats to public health and wildlife. Janet Wilson, ProPublica, 22 Mar. 2021 Dreams lost in an oil sump. Steph Cha, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2023 The water seeps from the lake through cracks in the rock and is routed to drains and a sump, then pumped to the river below the dam. Sophia Eppolito, The Arizona Republic, 7 Aug. 2021 That bullet hit a gravity sump. Bill Heavey, Field & Stream, 13 Dec. 2020 The Tatra engine was advanced for the time, with overhead valves in hemispherical combustion chambers and dry-sump lubrication for the oil system. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 23 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sump.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English sompe swamp — more at swamp

First Known Use

1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sump was in 1680

Dictionary Entries Near sump

Cite this Entry

“Sump.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sump. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a pit or reservoir serving as a container or as a drain for liquids
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